Nuts from around the world have had a history, unlike so many other modern day things. Asia Minor was a hot bed of cultivation and farming of nuts. The walnut is still held in such high regard in the Middle East. The nuts were reserved only for the Royal families. No matter what part of the globe where things can grow in anyone can find a piece of history which pertains to nuts.
A peanut is not a nut at all and are part of the 'goober' which is a member of the pea family. They originated in South America and were consumed by the tribal Indians for well over 2000 years. Spanish and Portuguese traders introduced them to Africa and Europe. In return, the merchants brought them to the United States. At first the peanut was regarded as food only meant for poor people. By the early part of the 20th century, it is known that the desire for peanut oil along with seasoned peanuts had created a vital need. Not only did the world consume this nut in the roasted and natural state but new nut recipes were now enjoyed.
In 1916, the Planters Peanuts sponsored a logo contest. A 13 year old boy created what we see today as Mr. Peanut. The drawing was chosen and refined by artists. They included the monocle, top hat, cane and gloves. His reward? The huge sum of the day, $5.00 only.
Other unique facts are that it takes about 550 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter. That is a fact that everyone can tell the friends down the bar tonight. Let’s be honest that is a massive amount of peanuts crammed into a jar.
Pecans are the only nuts native to North America, all other nuts which grow here today either were brought from another region or cultivated to grow in a different climate. Archeological digs in the State of Texas show that this nut was around since 6000 B.C. Further evidence shows these trees being grown along river beds and consumed by natives and new settlers for thousands of years.
The Algonquin Indian word “Pecan” was used to name this nut as the meaning is “all nuts requiring a stone to crack”.
The first cultivation of pecan trees began around the last part of the 17th century in northern Mexico. Both the Spanish colonist and Franciscans in this region came together to plant and document these trees and their harvests. Many uses for these nuts came about at this time with new nut recipes and other ways to enjoy them.
Thomas Jefferson admired pecan trees and planted them at Monticello. He also sent George Washington the seeds to plant at Mr. Vernon where both his and Jefferson's can still be viewed today.
The U.S. Produces 80% of the world’s pecan crops.
More than 1000 varieties exist. Many have Indian names such as Cheyenne, Shawnee, Mohawk, Sioux and Choctaw.
Tim Slower has spent twenty years in the vegetable market trade and was introduced to the beauty of nuts over the Christmas period. His wife Sara began to make nut recipes, and they have both never looked back from that point. Sarah and James now write books on fantastic tasting food that include nuts.